Mother-of-the-Bride Dress: What, Oh, What Do I Wear to My Daughter’s Wedding?

mother-of-the-bride dresses. which one shall I wear. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Could one of these gowns be my mother-of-the-bride dress? Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Here they are, the final four candidates for my mother-of-the-bride dress.

None of the four fully obscures the idiosyncracies of my 75-year-old figure. But then, everybody’s going to be looking at the bride, who will be spectacular. So will the groom, who’s a good-looking guy no matter what he wears.

Feel free to weigh in with lauds and hisses, bearing in mind that I’m probably going to wear the dress that gets me closest to looking terrific.

Meanwhile, Jon and I are off today to a final walk-through at Christina and Tim’s wedding venue. We’ve promised not to opinionate too much, just to be there to cheer them on.

As for the figure flaws I so lamented in last week’s post —  “Six Ways to Look Dreadful at Your Daughter’s Wedding” — I’m going to wear them proudly. Try to, anyway. My homespun Grandma Falconer and my glamorous Aunt Grace sported the Falconer jowls, and now I’ve got them. My mother wore her kyphotic profile with grace; I’m going to try for panache. Make-up will cover the sun spots. As for that descending bustline, surely there’s some high-tech, twenty-first-century lingerie out there to elevate that.

The belly fat? It will have to wait till after I’ve downed a flute of champagne and a slice of wedding cake.

More what-to-wear-to-a-wedding thoughts at “When the Bride Doesn’t Wear White — And Neither Does Anyone Else.”  And, “Wedding Dress Shopping — When the Bride Lets You Tag Along.”

mother-of-the-bride dress. Alex Evenings rosette champagne full length. Photo by Barbara NewhallNewhall

Sand colored Alex Evenings mother-of-the-bride dress with ribboned rosette embellishments and a discrete touch of glitter, not enough to outshine the bride, $239. Christina prefers I wear something dark and not too close too bridal white, so probably not this one. Photo by Barbara Newhall

mother-of-the-bride dress. alex evenings from the front Photo by Barbara NewhallNewhall

The same Alex Evenings gown with ribboned rosettes in navy. None of my local stores had this dress in a petite size. I had to go on line and order it from a department store back east. I like the idea of a long, dark dress. Photo by Barbara Newhall

mother-of-the-bride dress. bloomingdales from the front Photo by Barbara NewhallNewhall

Adrianna Papell gown with a beaded bodice and taffeta skirt, $328. This dress made me look pretty good, but the full skirt is way too formal for this wedding. Could it be shortened to knee-length? The department store tailor said, no, no, no; it would look goofy and homemade. Sigh. Photo by Barbara Newhall


smoke blue mother-of-the-bride dress Photo by Barbara Newhall

Alex Evenings blue smoke mother-of-the-bride dress with lacy beaded top and taffeta and chiffon skirt, $169. This dress covers my figure flaws nicely, and the color is pretty — but it’s so, so old-fashioned and predictable. Those pretty shoes, by the way, were way too wide for my feet. They went back to the store. And, yes, if I wear this dress I’ll buy myself some pantyhose. Photo by Barbara Newhall










  1. Thanks, everybody. I think it’s going to be the long navy Alex Evenings dress. I showed it to Christina in a store in LA when I went down south for her wedding dress fitting last week, and she approved. Since Jon and I will both be walking her down the aisle, I like the idea of a dark dress to go along with Jon’s dark suit — that will set off Christina between us in her white dress . . . Yeah, we’ll be walking her down the aisle, but who will be steadying and holding up whom?

  2. Ginger Rothe says:

    i would have voted for the most expensive one, until you said it was too formal. then i realized your beautiful smile was what made that dress stand out, as it will whatever one you choose.

  3. Linda Foust says:

    Number 4! But all are nice!

  4. Ann Buchanan Teixeira says:

    I vote for the long dark one — it looks lovely and very appropriate in every respect. Go for it!

  5. So pretty! You look amazing and you can’t go wrong with
    any option. The one that gets my vote is the long
    navy Alex Evening dress. My second choice is the taffeta
    skirt one. These are fabulous!
    Wear comfy shoes or bring a second pair to change
    into. You can’t have fun if your feet hurt.

  6. First impressions, my favorite is the long navy Alex Evenings gown. I think it is gorgeous!

  7. Katherine Philipp says:

    I like the short dress best. Second choice is the navy Alex Evenings. My daughter got married in 2003. I just donated my long silver satin gown to a group collecting prom dresses for poor teens.

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